5 Fast Tips... signals it's time to move on.

Recognize the signs &
know when to move on
The last few weeks we've chatted about 5 Fast Tips for setting goals for your career plan and then 5 Fast Tips for actions to include in your plan.

Today, I'd like to talk about what often leads us to realize that we need a career plan - which unfortunately is usually some kind of career crisis. Whilst ideally it would be great if we all developed our plans when we are in a good space and planning for the future - however, this is not the reality for most of us.

What often happens is some type of disappointment, like a missed promotion, a bad boss or even worse a job loss that forces us to decide what we are going to do next and identify a Plan B.

It's happened to me and almost every Chick I know - and plenty of blokes too. The trick is to be able to recognize the signs that signal that it is time to move on and be able to take action before it becomes a crisis.

Here are 5 Fast Tips so you can read the signs that it's time to move on (or at least make sure you have a plan up your sleeve!):

1. A bad boss - regularly cited as the number 1 reason by people for why they leave a job. I don't mean walk out the first time you have a disagreement but if over time you realize that working for them does not support you personally or your career aspirations - this can be a very clear sign to move on.

2. Cost cutting - can be a sign that the business is under pressure. This may be a forerunner to job losses.

3. Bad behaviours - if you find the managers in your company being short-tempered or acting more stressed than usual - this can be a sign that the business is not performing or that change is on its way. Stick up you antenna and ask around and see if others know more.

4. Restructures and organizational changes - these can have an upside and provide opportunities for new roles not just negative consequences.

5. New or lost customer contracts - new customers can create new roles; lost customers can mean down-sizing in a business. Even if you're not in the customer management side of a business - keep up with what's going on there.

Don't be a victim in your career and let things happen to you.

Creating the opportunities to make your future is much better.

Knowing when to put them into action is critical.

Thanks for the chat!

- Karen

Are you happy in your career?

Have you ever wondered why ...

- you don't get the job you want?

- your good work goes unnoticed?

- others are being paid more than you?

Sometimes having a rewarding career (being paid what we're worth, recognized for our contributions etc.) feels unattainable when we are in the daily grind and managing the multiple expectations that are expected of us at work.

The reality is that those who are successful in their careers (by their own standards) work proactively on it's development. They not only do their job well, they network, have mentors and learn the skills to manage their career.

It's kinda like the time you need to take out to organize your wardrobe, set up your banking or write a to-do list. The time out to get organized seems like lost time but in the long run it makes life much easier. Taking the time to think about, plan and learn the skills to manage your career will pay you back. So rather than feel like you are bashing your head against a brick wall trying to be recognized and rewarded.  Change your approach - the wall isn't going anywhere -and attack it with the appropriate career skills rather than your head!

I'm running a Career Skills Workshop in Sydney, Australia on April 9 where we'll be discussing these issues and providing 'how-to' tips to develop the skills you need to manage your career. If you're in Sydney this might be the time you could put towards your career.

There are four complimentary tickets to the workshop (no transport to Sydney I'm afraid) for four people (i.e. one each) who will be randomly selected.

Email me at karen@hottipsforcareerchicks.com and let me know what you need to know to develop your career and realize your potential.

For readers not in Sydney there are 4 copies of the eBook version of "Hot Tips For Career Chicks" to be given away also - so let me know what types of the Career Chick Chat blogs are most useful to you. Email me at karen.@hottipsforcareerchicks.com

Look forward to hearing from you!

- Karen

P.S. Winners will be notified by email by 5 pm, Saturday April 2, Australian Eastern Daylight Time.

Today, Girls Rule My World - the Top Chick 6

I live in Sydney, Australia a place of natural beauty, freedom and tremendous opportunity. It's also a place which, for the next few hours, is ruled by girls.

There is currently an election going on and it's fairly certain that one of the girls is going to be removed from the chain of command by the end of the day. Which is the nature of politics.

But before that happens I just want to get a quick blog in about just how far Career Chicks have come that has led to the situation we have today where:
  • the city of Sydney has a Chick as Lord Mayor - Clover Moore
  • the state of N.S.W. has a Chick Premier - Kristina Keneally who is the head of government (for the next few hours anyway!) 
  • the most senior official in N.S.W. is the Queen's representative, the Governor of N.S.W, Marie Brashir (a Chick!) 
  • Australia's Governor General is Quentin Bryce (Chick), who reports to
  • The Queen (also a chick!)
 Regardless of whether you agree with their politics, the way they came to power or even whether Australia should have a monarchy - the fact that our ruling governing hierarchy is all Chicks - and that it is possible - is quite amazing.

Only Queen Elizabeth inherited her role - and there is no doubt that she is a formidable Career Chick herself - the others have all been through whatever processes are required to be elected or earn the appointment to these positions.

The 'Top Chick 6' will be broken up tonight following the N.S.W. election (I'm not psychic, but trust me) but I think the fact that this situation exists today is worth commenting on. Our predecessors who we recognized just a few weeks ago on International Women's Day, for the issues of equality that they fought for would probably think so too.

So, consider it commented on!

It's a good thing that this could happen!

I'm just sayin'

- Karen

A nod to Elizabeth Taylor: Career Chick, Hollywood Legend, Aids Activist

The name Elizabeth Taylor brings to mind visions of beauty, glamour and a life of many marriages.

This week though, her passing has brought to our attention to stories about her movies, humanitarian work as a vigilant, successful Aids Activist and about her career.

She was a real Hollywood Career Chick. There's no doubt that she was absolutely beautiful and this contributed to her success.

But Elizabeth Taylor was also good at what she did. So good that she was nicknamed "One-shot Liz" because she was able to shoot a scene in one take. Which no doubt saved time and money for the movie makers. She knew it's not just about looking good. You have to be also be good at what you do.

She also led the way in 'earning what she was worth', being paid a record breaking $1 million for the film Cleopatra in 1963.

Despite a couple of roles as a younger child, her career really began with the 1944 movie, National Velvet (can you believe that was before the end of World War 2???). Just on the off-chance that my blog readers might not have actually seen the movie here's a look at the trailer of the movie where her career really took off.

Looking back on the life of such a famous person - it's relatively easy to see why it's universally agreed that this movie was a turning point in her career. It's interesting to reflect on where our own turning points were and plan for where we will create them in the future.

I remember a particular presentation I made at a sales conference that was one for me - in a good way!

What was yours? And when will your next one be?

RIP Elizabeth Taylor.

I'm heading out to track down a DVD of this to watch over the weekend (when the lights have come back on after Earth Hour, of course).

- Karen

5 Fast Tips... actions for your career plan

...actions for your career plan
Previously we chatted about some ways to approach setting goals for your career plan. Today I'd like to move to the next step and assume (she says with fingers crossed) that you have thought about your goals and are ready to move to the next step of developing your action plan.

This is - what you are actually going to do in order to achieve your goals.

It should include:

Specific actions - what you will do.

Time frames - when you will do them.

Measures - how you will know that you are on track.

Here are five fast tips for your action plan:

1. Assess the gaps - in knowledge, skills or experience between where you are now and where you want to go. This will provide you with specific areas that you can address in your action plan.

2. Build and work your network - seek out people in your network or add new people to it - who have the expertise you need to develop.

3. Identify mentors - who will guide or help you with the expertise you require. These people can be within your organisation, they could be managers you have worked for in the past or people you access or are recommended to through your network.

4. Appoint a board or advisers - these people might not sit around a board room table discussing your career or in fact, even know they are on your board. But they are clearly identified in your mind as trusted advisers who are key members of your network. They are the people that you go to seek counsel when you are at a cross-road & are able to point you in the right direction. Ideally they will have a range of skills sets with differing areas of expertise so that you can seek them out when you need help in their specialty area.

5. Source training or other ways you can develop your expertise. Your company may have training courses you can attend or there may be external programs you want to attend. If it's within your means and the company won't pay, don't shy away from investing in yourself to attend a course. It's not just training courses there are other avenues available. For instance, if you want to improve your presentation skills you could join Toastmasters or a similar organisation.

So there's some fast ideas that will hopefully get you thinking about some actions you can include in you plan.

Been great chatting

- Karen

5 Fast Tips... setting goals for your career plan

to set goals for your career plan
From what I see everyone is pretty much in agreement that a career plan is a good idea. The two big challenges I see for women are actually taking the time to dedicate to writing a career plan, and knowing where to start. How do you write a plan if you're not clear what you truly want to achieve?

Which is why it's so important to dedicate some time and thinking to goal setting.

I think it a bit like standing in front of the store directory in a shopping mall. The most important information starts with looking for the big red circle that shows where you are and those comforting words "YOU ARE HERE".

You're at the map of the stores, you have your bearings as you know where you are, but to make any progress (i.e. start shopping!) you need to know which stores you are looking for - and then you can plot your path to get to where you want to go. (And get the shoes/outfit/whatever you want to buy - or even some unplanned purchases along the way!)

I reckon career planning is basically the same process. You need to know where you are now and where you want to go - and then you can plan what you need to do to get there.

It all starts with knowing where you are now...

Here's this weeks "5 Fast Tips" for setting your career goals.


1. Where you are now - ask yourself: What skills do you have? What level of industry or subject area knowledge? What experience have you gained?

2. What you are good at - write a list of the things that you receive positive feedback about and the tasks that you know in your heart you are good at. You don't have to be modest - it's your list - you're not going to post it out the front of a shopping center!

3. What you like to do - go back to the list of all the things you are good at and cross off the things you really don't like. Just because you are good at something it doesn't mean you always like it. You may not be able to totally abolish what you don't like from a job you do - but again, this is your list and you don't have to make a goal around something you really don't care for.

4. How you like to work - do you like to work with people or on your own? In large or small teams? In a role where you have lots of autonomy or specific direction? This understanding will help when you are making decisions about what you want for your future.

5. How you make decisions - think through how you have made important decisions in the past. How did you decide what subjects to take at school? Or which university course? How did you decide to move house, city or which job to take previously? When you have an understanding of how you have made decision in the past - preferably ones that have worked out well for you - it will give you a framework for how to make decisions about your career goals, now and in the future.

You don't need to be limited by the past or you current skills, but they can help you decide what you want to do.

Find your big red dot on your career map, know where you are now and decide where you want to go. It makes the plan about how to get there so much easier.

- Karen

I am woman...hear me roar!

Hi Chicks

A musical movie day
Hope you have had a great week celebrating International Women's Day!

Over the week I have met some fabulous chicks, seen some inspiring speakers and put on half a kilogram (it's only a pound!) of finger food calories.

I hope you have done the same (not the extra weight but got to celebrate the fabulous milestone of International Women's Day) and had a great week marking the 100th anniversary.

I thought I would love to share with you this week, (on Career Chick Chat Movie Day) the song that was the anthem of International Women's Year back in 1975.

I was young, (very young!) and could carry a tune then as well as I can now (which is not good) but used to belt out "I am Woman" by Helen Reddy at the top of my voice every time it came on the radio. (I quite liked my accompaniment to "Delta Dawn" as well - but that's another story...)

There's no doubt - the hair style and the dress are dated and the recording is a bit scratchy, but the message still inspires me. I'm going to put in my earphones and try to have a singalong (on the inside)...

Still love it.

If I have to I can do anything. So can you.

Hope you had a good week. I'm off to the gym to deal with this extra pound!

- Karen

5 Fast Tips ...for net"working" on #IWD

for net"working"
For about the next 40 hours somewhere in the world will be celebrating the 100th Anniversary of International Women's Day.

Many of us will be attending networking events, some of the many breakfasts, lunches and dinners that are being held this week to mark and celebrate the occasion.

So I thought rather than talk about International Women's Day itself - as there will be plenty written by everyone I am sure - I'd make today's 5 Fast Tips blog (it is Tuesday after all) about net"working".

So why am I calling it net"working"? 

Because when you go to these events, they really need to be approached with a "working" mindset. It doesn't mean you can't enjoy them or have fun. It does mean that you need to consciously prepare and think about what you are going to do.

Here are 5 Fast Tips for "networking":

1. Find out who is going to be at the event - before you go do a little bit of research and find out who will be there. If the event has been listed on LinkedIn or Facebook you can often see who has rsvp'd. If it's an event in your company - just ask around.

2. Identify if there is someone you want to meet - once you know who will be there - review if there is anyone you want to meet or connect up with. It might be someone you've met before that you just want to say "hello", to keep up your profile or someone you have dealt with by email and have never met in person. Or you may want to meet someone you really admire or wouldn't come across in your daily life.

3. Develop your introduction - when you know who you want to meet and who is going to be at the event, decide how you are going to introduce yourself. Your name is a good start, then add your company or department. Follow up with something like, "I'm working on...", "I work in...", "I've just started working on ..." - something that give others a really quick snapshot of what you do.

If it's someone you've met before, an extended hand, a smile and "Hi <their name>, <your name> (just in case they have forgotten), <your company/department>, good to see you again, how are you?" might be all that you need.

If it's someone you know quite well a "Good to see you here. How are you doing?" could be enough.

4. Position yourself - with the person you want to meet by adding in why you you wanted to meet them. Make it relevant and short. You could try something like "I just want to quickly introduce myself to let you know... / say hello / touch base / give you give you my contact details / ask ..."

Which leads to the final tip for today...

5. Ask questions - the simplest way to get a conversation going is to ask questions. It's a really effective way to communicate and the quality of your questions can reflect well on you. Prepare some questions that are either specific to the person you want to meet or general enough to ask anyone before you get to the event. That will help you feel more comfortable before you walk in the room when you know you have something to say!

The questions don't need to be exam level - just some conversations starters like, "What's your connection with...?", "How do you know ?",  "What are you working on at the moment in your ?" are a couple of examples to get you thinking.

Whatever you do to celebrate International Women's Day - enjoy!

If you don't have anything formal planned - gather up a couple of chicks from the office and head out for a coffee (you can take some guys too). Not that we need it, but today's anniversary is a great excuse for some networking.

Happy International Women's Day

- Karen

P.S. These tips are not just for today chicks ...if you have any tips or questions you use, please share them with the rest of the career chick chat community !!

How To Present: Overcome Your Fears ...do it!

Movie Day:
The King's (Real) Speech
This is the second movie day on Career Chick Chat this week - as I couldn't resist sharing the trailer from the The King's Speech on the day when it won the Oscar for Best Picture!

In the blog, The Power of the King's Speech, I chatted about the importance of the delivery of a presentation, that it is heartfelt, honest and respectful of the audience.

I love this movie. Because what it says to me is that the simplicity of a simple message delivered well is more powerful than any number of PowerPoint slides, clever slide builds (although I do like them when they are done well) and fancy graphics.

When I watched this video of one of the actual King's (King George VI), actual speeches, it reminded me of a couple of other key principles about presentations.

Check out the speech first and then we can chat more.

The first thing this reinforced for me is the fact that if you have to make a presentation (or a speech to the whole country) it is possible to overcome fears, nerves and doubts. You have to put in the effort to learn how to present and the many things you need to do to prepare - but ultimately you need to be prepared to do it. And the King shows is can be done.

The other thing that struck me was why the King did it. It was his job. It was in his job description - so to speak. It may not have been formally captured in a document but it was implicit. To be King he had to talk to the people.

For us career types we may not have 'give presentations' listed in our job descriptions either. But if you need to communicate what you do, if you need to be able to demonstrate your credibility, if you want to stand out from the crowd; you need to present.

If the King can do it. You can too!

Enjoy the climb (up the ladder)
- Karen

5 Fast Tips... to prepare for presentations

Preparing for presentations
 After yesterday's blog on the "Power of The King's Speech" and my musings on the importance of presentations being honest, repectful of the audience and well-prepared, I thought this week's "5 Fast Tips" should be on some tips of exactly what to do and how to prepare for a presentation.

You may not need to deliver a presentation to all of the Commonwealth countries like the King, but as the movie showed, how you deliver a presentation can have a tremendous impact on how you are seen and your credibility.

There's a lot more that 5 tips to prepare for presentations but here are some that I think are really important:

1. Determine the purpose - before you even begin to prepare you need to understand the business objective of a presentation. Is it to provide information or to ask for something such as funding, time or resourcing for your project? Or are you asking a client for their business? Knowing your objective before you start will help you develop your presentation so that you achieve that goal.

2. Understand your audience - who will be there and what do they want from the presentation?

3. Ensure your content - is well researched, accurate and meets both the objective of the presentation and needs of the audience.

4. Determine the structure and style of presentation - decide how you will structure a presentation so that you're content is logical, relevant and easily understood. The "3 Ts'" structure is always a good one. Tell them what you are going to tell them. Tell them. Them tell them what you've told them.

5. Rehearse - there are more than 5 tips just on rehearsing a presentation (that is a topic for another blog!). For today, just remember that rehearsing will help with nerves, increase your confidence and be reassuring (or not!) that you have the right messages being delivered in the right way. If you don't - it's a lot better to find out in the rehearsal stage than half-way through an actual presentation!

Presentation skills are essential for career success (and survival!) and there are literally millions of sources of information on the topic.

Today's 5 Fast Tips are just to get you started. But no matter how experienced and strong a presenter you are - they are always a good place to start.

- Karen